USMLE Step 1: Exam Info
*Information is based off of the USMLE official website. Please visit the USMLE website for additional information, updates, or changes.
Step 1 assesses the ability to apply basic science concepts to the practice of medicine with a focus on underlying principles of health, disease, and therapy. Step 1 measures basic science knowledge through the interpretation of written and graphic information, as well as problem solving through the application of basic science principles.
About the Exam
Step 1 is a one-day examination administered in one 8-hour session. The entire examination is approximately 280 multiple choice questions divided into seven 60-minute blocks. Each block contains no more than 40 questions. There is a 15 minute computer tutorial and 45 minutes of break time.
Step 1 Scoring
Step 1 is scored on a 3-digit scale with a minimum passing score of 194.
Step 1 Content
The content on Step 1 covers general principles and individual organ systems. The general breakdown is as follows:
General Principles (12-16%)
Blood and Lymphoreticular/Immune Systems (7-11%)
Behavioral Health and Nervous Systems/Special Senses (9-13%)
Musculoskeletal, Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue (6-10%)
Cardiovascular System (5-9%)
Respiratory and Renal/Urinary Systems (9-13%)
Gastrointestinal System (5-9%)
Reproductive and Endocrine Systems (9-13%)
Multisystem Processes and Disorders (6-10%)
Biostatistics and Epidemiology/Population Health (4-6%)
Social Sciences: Communication and Interpersonal Skills (6-9%)
Step 1 Disciplines
The content on Step 1 (listed above) is tested through various disciplines including:
Biochemistry and Nutrition (14-22%)
Gross Anatomy and Embryology (11-15%)
Histology and Cell Biology (8-13%)
Behavioral Sciences (8-13%)
Step 1 Tasks/Competencies
Each test question assesses one of the following:
Medical Knowledge: Applying Foundational Science Concepts (60-70%)
Patient Care: Diagnosis (20-25%)
Patient Care: Management (0% - this is tested on Step 2 CK and Step 3)
Communication and Interpersonal Skills (6-9%)
Practice-Based Learning and Improvement (4-6%)